The US has imposed new sanctions to stop oil exports from Venezuela to Cuba. The punitive measures are against four shipping companies, said US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The government in Cuba supported the "illegitimate regime" in Caracas and enabled "its repressive security and intelligence apparatus."
The tankers of the sanctioned companies registered in Panama and Cyprus are, according to the US, supplying oil from Venezuela to Cuba. The assets of companies in the US are frozen and their access to the global financial system is largely blocked by the sanctions.
Venezuela's oil belongs to people in the South American country and should not be abused to "prolong the usurpation of Venezuelan democracy," Mnuchin said, referring to the government of leftist Nationalist President Nicolás Maduro.
Trump calls Maduro a "Cuban puppet"
US President Donald Trump described Maduro in his speech to the UN General Assembly as a "Cuban puppet guarded by Cuban bodyguards". His government is "very close" to the situation in Venezuela, Trump said. There are large numbers of US relief supplies ready for the crisis country. "We are waiting for the day when democracy will be restored and Venezuela will be free."
The US is one of Maduro's harshest critics and has backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó in the power struggle in Venezuela. Washington has imposed far-reaching sanctions on Venezuela in recent months, including against the state-owned oil company PDVSA. Cuba is one of Madura's most important supporters alongside Russia.
Maduro meets with Putin in Moscow
The controversial left-nationalist head of state did not attend the United Nations general debate in New York on Tuesday. He wants to meet with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
The EU is also apparently preparing new sanctions against Venezuela. The punitive measures are aimed at seven security and intelligence officials, diplomats said in Brussels. Most of them are therefore accused of torture and other human rights violations. The ambassadors of the EU states want to bring the punitive measures on Wednesday, according to information.